By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Don’t look now but the Burbank boys volleyball team is on the rise. Only in their third year of existence after bringing back the program in 2012, the Bulldogs have quietly put together a strong season thus far.
Entering next week’s big match at four-time defending league champion Burroughs, Burbank is 10-1 overall and 3-0 in league.
“It’s been fun. All three of our levels are experiencing some success right now,” Burbank coach Patrick McMenamin said. “I want us to stay humble because we are approaching the heart of our season right now. It’s nice to have some of the previous years of work and even some losing start to go away and see success start to arise.”
After going 11-18 a year ago and losing 10 players to graduation, McMenamin has done a masterful job of taking this year’s crop of athletes and molding them into a cohesive unit playing sound and fundamental volleyball.
“These kids are becoming students of the game in terms of understanding our opponents, analyzing film, our approach to practice,” he said. “I think it’s starting to pay off and the kids are noticing that too.”
On March 18, Burbank stunned defending league co-champion Claremont on the road in a five-set thriller, 3-2 (25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-27, 15-8).
After losing the first two sets, Claremont roared back and tied the match at two apiece. Then the Bulldogs displayed the maturity they have developed by regaining their composure and winning the all-important fifth set in convincing fashion.
“We had an opportunity to put it away in the fourth set,” said McMenamin. “But it was definitely nice to see our boys respond in the manner that they did in the fifth set taking them 15-8.”
Senior opposite hitter Joseph Servin led the way with 12 kills and 11 digs. Dylan Anderson added nine kills, Robert O’Brien eight kills, Justin Saisirikul 11 digs and setter Peter Jang with 22 assists.
One day later Burbank shutout Arcadia, 3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-16). Leading 13-11 in the first set, BHS rattled off five of seven points to take an 18-13 lead and Servin’s kill gave the Bulldogs the first set. They never looked back in the easy three-set victory.
“Our passing was strong and our ball control was there so it helped us to diversify our offense a little bit,” McMenamin said. “From there we found a rhythm.”
Junior middle blocker Willie Perryman recorded 10 kills, Servin nine kills, sophomore libero Paul Shim 16 digs, Anderson nine digs and Jang had another productive match with 22 assists.
Servin’s steady play has helped propel Burbank into first place in the Pacific League alongside Burroughs (8-3, 1-0). The two rivals will tangle on Wednesday, April 2, at Burroughs at 6 p.m.
“Joseph (Servin) is starting to hit the way we need him to,” McMenamin said. “He’s a four-year player who has been around since we started our program. He’s definitely clicking when he’s hitting.”
Burbank has been clicking on all cylinders thus far. The match on Wednesday against the Indians will be a good indicator how far they’ve come in just three short years.